"I really wanted to be a Spice Girl but I was too young at only five years old. From then on I always wanted to write my own songs," said Leigh Mary Stokes when she performed for BBC Introducing...South: Live.
The self-confessed "skint" singer songwriter from Portsmouth has put together her debut EP over the last six months using a cobbled together home studio in her guitarist's spare room.
Nineteen-year-old Leigh and her band started by recording a three track demo to give away at gigs.
Such was the popularity of the demo that it found its way to being play listed on BBC Introducing on 6 Music.
Putting together an EP
Leigh quickly set about recording more songs to form her full debut EP. Unfortunately the cost of artwork, distribution and printing was more than she could afford, especially with the cost of a potential tour on top of that.
But Leigh and the band found the solution in themselves: her drummer became their graphic designer, the bassist the tour manager and the guitarist the salesman, and Leigh did the rest!
Band member Chris Pitt says: "I have two different personas - if I'm wearing the hat, I'm the guitarist and if I'm not I'm the manager.
"Luckily they can't fall out with me as manager because if anything is put to the vote the guitarist usually goes with what the manager says..."
The EP, now finished, is due for release on 16 November 2009 with a UK tour following.
Leigh hopes to release her single 'Skint' early next year
"Generally I'm against 'money machine' bands but I suppose like Girls Aloud. It's just I see so many bands on the circuit and hear their amazing music and yet people can't hear them in the charts," says Leigh.
Leigh has spent the last year working with some of Portsmouth's most respected musicians and has played with such artists as, Frank Hamilton, The Winterkids, Flamboyant Bella and Eliza Doolittle.
She has also played local festivals Bestival, Wight Air and Southsea Fest.
Leigh's music is emotive indie pop with a Kate Nash feel to it. She has a relaxed and conversational tone, which she hopes appeals to all: "I suppose a younger audience would prefer my music - although I would like everyone to enjoy my music!"
You can see Leigh Mary Stokes perform at The Joiners in Southampton on 18 November 2009, at The Cellars in Eastney on 28 November 2009 or the Wight Rock Bar in Ryde on 5 December 2009.
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